Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Newry staff “in limbo” after Debenhams announces plans to close 50 stores

The news that Debenhams is understood to be seeking to close 50 of its 166 stores after suffering a record £500m loss has left staff at the Quays anchor store in Newry in a state of uncertainty.  

The struggling department store chain has been under increased scrutiny since rival House of Fraser collapsed in August, and previously warned that it had earmarked 10 stores for closure over the next five years. It has now raised that number to 50, putting around 4000 jobs at risk.

NEWRY SDLP Councillor Michael Savage has called on the retail chain to outline its future intentions for the Newry store as soon as possible to allay staff fears.

Councillor Savage said that, although he understood the rationale behind Debenhams making the closures announcement “in order to calm the markets”, he said to do so, “without any clarity as to what stores are earmarked for closure is leaving staff in limbo.@

“It is unfair to leave staff of the Newry store in such a state of uncertainty in the mouth of Christmas. They deserve to know what the future holds,” said Mr Savage.

“Debenhams has played a major part in Newry’s retail success story and to lose the store would be a huge blow. It is part of the retail fabric of Newry and an anchor tenant of The Quays.

“I hope Newry is not one of the stores earmarked for closure and the fantastic local staff retain their jobs.I urge Debenhams to provide clarity on the future of the Newry store and give certainty to staff and this worrying time.”